Skip Navigation
Regional News
Lead developer Tom Lawson (R) with Tupper Lake town supervisor Roger Amell (L, seated) at a political gathering last week. Photo: Brian Mann
Lead developer Tom Lawson (R) with Tupper Lake town supervisor Roger Amell (L, seated) at a political gathering last week. Photo: Brian Mann

Big Tupper resort an election year issue

Listen to this story
The Adirondack Club and Resort proposed for Tupper Lake has been delayed by a lawsuit filed by two environmental advocacy groups, and the case is now being reviewed by judges in Albany. But with election day less than a month away, the future of the resort is also on the agendas of politicians.

There appears to be bipartisan support for the development, which has been on the drawing board for nearly a decade.

Hear this

Download audio

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Story location

News near this location

Thursday night, a small group of local residents, politicians and pro-growth activists gathered at the fish and game club on the outskirts of Tupper Lake. 

Karen Bisso, Conservative party candidate for the 115th district state assembly seat, organized the event. She said described the meeting as "the beginning of a conversation."

Bisso likened the session to a town hall meeting, a chance for locals to sound off on the resort project and on environmental regulations in the Park.

Conservative Party Assembly candidate Karen Bisso (R) organized the session. Photo: Brian Mann
Conservative Party Assembly candidate Karen Bisso (R) organized the session. Photo: Brian Mann
Roger Amell, Tupper Lake's town supervisor, described the development as a crucial next step for his struggling community.

"The Article 78 lawsuit against the project comes out and boom, shuts the whole project down and here we are again," he said.

Developer Tom Lawson also spoke Thursday evening.

He says his group still hopes to build hundreds of condos, great camp-style mansions, a marina, an equestrian center, and a new ski area in the village.

"There's been a tremendous investment here," he said. "We're not going anywhere."

Last week's session highlights the fact that the Adirondack Club and Resort has become a high-profile issue for politicians, especially those on the campaign trail.

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey has also raised the ACR issue on the campaign trail, most recently during a debate on Mountain Lake PBS. Photo: MLPBS
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey has also raised the ACR issue on the campaign trail, most recently during a debate on Mountain Lake PBS. Photo: MLPBS
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, the incumbent in the 115th district, raised the topic during a recent debate on Mountain Lake PBS.

"Once the frivolous lawsuits are done, the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake will create more than 500 jobs," she argued.

The resort project has also drawn praise and support from Democrats, including the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

One of Cuomo's senior advisors, Howard Glaser, referenced the project recently while appearing on a Capital district radio program hosted by Fred Dicker.

"We've supported development," Glaser said, pointing to the Adirondack Park Agency's 10-to-1 vote in favor of the resort permits.

"This is an area that had a ski area. It will again. It'll have some private development there. People are hungry for jobs."

While many politicians in the North Country have embraced the resort concept, most environmental groups in the region have stayed on the sidelines.

Some environmental activists have continued to oppose the ACR project.  File photo
Some environmental activists have continued to oppose the ACR project. File photo
Leading groups including the Adirondack Council and the Adirondack Mountain Club have chosen not to take part in the lawsuit aimed at blocking the Big Tupper project, which means that much of the political fire has been focused on one green group, called Protect the Adirondacks.

"This is not an easy decision for Protect to make," said Peter Bauer, a long-time green activist in the region, who took the helm at Protect this fall. He's accused pro-development groups of waging a campaign of intimidation against opponents of the resort.

Bauer says one reason the suit was necessary is concern by environmentalists that politics shaped the APA's decision to issue permits: "We believe that Agency did not uphold its laws, and there may have even been some illegal communication.”

Bauer's group filed what's known as an Article 78 suit, challenging the permits issued by the Park Agency.

Despite all the political rhetoric, the court's review won't be influenced by what's said by local leader or by politicians out on the campaign trail. That fact was pointed out by Jim LaValley a real estate agent in Tupper Lake and founder of a pro-development group called ARISE.

"Frustrated? You bet. Because the actions of a few are costing this community a great deal. And there's not a whole lot that can be done about it."

Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club have asked the court for permission to probe whether politicians in Albany or in the North Country played an inappropriate role in the Park Agency's decision to give the resort the green light. 

The state appeals court is expected to rule on that petition in the next 45 days.

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.